Sodexo Ireland sponsored the recent ICC/BITC (Business in the Community Ireland) Sustainability and the Future of Business event, which took place at the new Trinity Business School.

Opening remarks were delivered by Mathieu Gorge, president of the France-Ireland Chamber of Commerce, and Julie Ennis, country president, Sodexo Ireland.

BITCI chief executive officer Tomas Sercovich chaired a panel discussion on key trends including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The panellists were Sinead Patton, chief finance and commercial officer, Veolia; Seamus Egan, managing director, Transdev, Augustin Blanc, general manager, Servier and Dr Gemma Donnelly-Cox, co-director of the Trinity Centre for Social Innovation.

Closing remarks were delivered by H.E. Stéphane Crouzat, Ambassador of France to Ireland. The France-Ireland Chamber of Commerce has just launched a working group dedicated to impact on climate change and it is currently analysing the results of a survey sent out to all its members to set strategy and goals.

Reciprocity, mutual flourishing, the increasing expectations of society towards business and the need for real collaboration to solve the world’s sustainability challenges were the keynote messages delivered by Neil Barrett, group vice-president for corporate responsibility at Sodexo.

Neil said: “Even the word ‘sustainable’ is not enough. We need to embrace the concept of reciprocity, where we appreciate that not only does the earth sustain us, but that we have the capacity and responsibility to sustain her in return. Our duty is to encourage mutual flourishing, between ourselves and our partners and between ourselves and the planet.”

“Sodexo is the first global food services company to connect its financing to action to prevent food waste. In May 2019, Sodexo announced the deployment of its data-driven food waste prevention program, WasteWatch, with the objective to deploy the program to all relevant Sodexo sites by 2025.

“Sodexo is also committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 34% by 2025 and has joined the Science Based Targets initiative, the global movement of leading companies aligning their businesses with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” Neil continued.

Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) is the leading advisor in sustainability and CSR. Earlier in 2019, it launched its Low Carbon Pledge for business and to date 48 companies have committed to the Pledge, including event sponsor Sodexo.

The event coincided with the visit of the Sodexo/WWF-UK Finer Diner vegan pop-up to the Forum Restaurant at Trinity Business School. The Finer Diner is touring several Sodexo run university restaurants in Ireland and the UK and is aimed at encouraging students, staff and visitors to try street food dishes made from 100% plant-based ingredients.

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